Free speech is one of the cornerstones of modern democratic society and is a right that is fiercely protected. I would know. I'm a writer. There is a line between expressing opinions, however, and committing hate speech, which serves no discernible purpose except to incite rage or violence from or against an individual or collection of people, entirely because of their membership to a certain group. Hate speech is usually directed at racial minorities, women, religious groups and people of other sexual orientations [source: U.S. Legal].
It can be difficult to seek justice against perpetrators of hate speech, unless a serious, credible threat has been made [source: Civil Rights.org]. This is compounded by the fact that some people find certain words or phrases offensive, while others do not. Many experts insist that the best way to counteract online hate speech, which will never be 100 percent controllable, is to continue promoting education and tolerance about people of different faiths, backgrounds and lifestyles [source: Howard]. Hmm ... sounds like those "The More You Know" PSA campaigns were more groundbreaking than I ever realized before!
Last editorial update on Jun 27, 2018 12:54:21 pm.
Author's Note: 10 Forms of Online Harassment
Make love, not war. Treat others as you'd like to be treated. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar I'm not sure why anyone would want to catch flies, but you get the idea. Being nice is nicer than being mean. Everyone stoops from time to time – that's what makes us human – but there are zero credible reasons for a person to harass someone else. Divert that energy and use it for good, rather than evil. At the very least, find a positive hobby to occupy your time!
More Great Links
- Alcindor, Yamiche. "San Diego revenge-porn site operator sentenced to 18 years." USA Today. April 4, 2015 (May 7, 2015) http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/04/04/revenge-porn-sentenced-18-years/25286583/
- Associated Press. "U.S. prosecutors seek new conviction for 'depraved man' who encouraged Canadian teen to commit suicide." Aug. 8, 2014 (May 7, 2015) http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/08/08/u-s-prosecutors-seek-new-conviction-for-depraved-man-who-encouraged-canadian-teen-to-commit-suicide/
- BBC News. "Alleged 'swatter' prankster arrested in US." Feb. 9, 2015 (May 7, 2015) http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-31299287
- Berger, Paul M. "Online Harassment: Electronic Intimidation." Campus Law Enforcement Journal. February 2001 (May 7, 2015) https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/Abstract.aspx?id=187734
- Civil Rights.org. "The State of Hate: Exploiting the Internet to Promote Hatred." 2015 (May 7, 2015) http://www.civilrights.org/publications/hatecrimes/exploiting-internet.html
- Cross, Katherine. "Things Have Happened in the Past Week." Feministing. 2015 (May 7, 2015) http://feministing.com/2015/01/16/things-have-happened-in-the-past-week-on-doxing-swatting-and-8chan/
- EEA Grants. "Countering Hate Speech Online." Nov. 28, 2012 (May 7, 2015) http://eeagrants.org/News/2012/Countering-hate-speech-online
- Hathaway, Jay. "What is Gamergate, and Why? An Explainer for Non-Geeks." Gawker. Oct. 10, 2014 (May 7, 2015) http://gawker.com/what-is-gamergate-and-why-an-explainer-for-non-geeks-1642909080
- Hitchcock, Jayne A. Cybercrime and cyberbullying expert, and president of volunteer organization Working to Halt Online Abuse (WHOA). Telephone interview, May 5, 2015.
- Howard, Theresa. "Online hate speech: difficult to police...and define." USA Today. Oct. 2, 2009 (May 7, 2015) http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/webguide/internetlife/2009-09-30-hate-speech_N.htm
- Know Your Meme. "Trolling." 2015 (May 7, 2015) http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/subcultures/trolling
- Lu, Andrew. "Are Fake Celebrity Twitter Accounts Legal?" FindLaw. Dec. 31, 2012 (May 7, 2015) http://blogs.findlaw.com/celebrity_justice/2012/12/are-fake-celebrity-twitter-accounts-legal.html
- Luckerson, Victor. "Can You Go to Jail for Impersonating Someone Online?" TIME. Jan. 22, 2013 (May 7, 2015) http://business.time.com/2013/01/22/can-you-go-to-jail-for-impersonating-someone-online/
- McHugh, Molly. "It's Catfishing Season!" Digital Trends. Aug. 23, 2013 (May 7, 2015) http://www.digitaltrends.com/web/its-catfishing-season-how-to-tell-lovers-from-liars-online-and-more/
- Megan Meier Foundation. "Bullying, Cyberbullying & Suicide Statistics." 2015 (May 7, 2015) http://www.meganmeierfoundation.org/statistics.html
- Mince-Didier, Ava. "Revenge Porn: Laws and Penalties." Criminal Defense Lawyer. 2015 (May 7, 2015) http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/revenge-porn-laws-penalties.htm
- National Conference of State Legislatures. "State Cyberstalking and Cyberharassment Laws." Jan. 12, 2015 (May 7, 2015) http://www.ncsl.org/research/telecommunications-and-information-technology/cyberstalking-and-cyberharassment-laws.aspx
- NoBullying. "Cyberstalking Facts: The Top 20." Nov. 23, 2014 (May 7, 2015) http://nobullying.com/cyberstalking-20-important-facts/
- Stopbullying.gov. "What is Cyberbullying?" 2015 (May 7, 2015) http://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/what-is-it/#frequencyofcyberbullying
- Urban Dictionary. "Catfish." 2015 (May 7, 2015) http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=catfish
- Urban Dictionary. "Dogpiling." 2015 (May 7, 2015) http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Dog+Pile
- U.S. Attorney's Office. "Cyberstalking Case Involving Violent Threats Against Art Dealers and Their Children Leads to Five-year Federal Prison Term." The Federal Bureau of Investigation. Sept. 29, 2014 (May 7, 2015) http://www.fbi.gov/losangeles/press-releases/2014/cyberstalking-case-involving-violent-threats-against-art-dealers-and-their-children-leads-to-five-year-federal-prison-term
- U.S. Legal. "Hate Speech Law & Legal Definition." 2015 (May 7, 2015) http://definitions.uslegal.com/h/hate-speech/
- West, Lindy. "What happened when I confronted my cruelest troll." The Guardian. Feb. 2, 2015 (May 7, 2015) http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/feb/02/what-happened-confronted-cruellest-troll-lindy-west
What really happens when you make your browser private or incognito? HowStuffWorks finds out whether you're completely anonymous or not.